In an effort to deter the masses from pirating music and movies, Google has blocked certain terms related to media piracy from their instant search and autocomplete, including words like Bittorrent, uTorrent, RapidShare, and Megaupload -- all of which are Internet tools and services used for storing and transferring songs, albums, movies and TV shows, among other kinds of files.
While this move doesn't eliminate results containing the terms from showing up in the search engine completely, it does indicate a level of willingness on Google's part to cooperate with the RIAA and MPAA, which are of course seeking to reduce piracy.
For those unfamiliar with autocomplete and instant search, here's a quick breakdown: When you start typing into Google's search engine, a drop-down box will appear with search terms similar to what you've typed in so far. That's autocomplete. It will also start generating and refining search results on the actual page as you begin entering in letters and words. That's instant search.
The hardcore MP3 pirate likely won't be affected by this, since they already know what to search for. But for the average person trying to find that Katy Perry song they heard on TV last night, Google will stop feeding suggestions containing terms like the ones above, making it somewhat harder to pirate the copyrighted material.
TorrentFreak, which broke this story, says that the list of no-no terms is pretty random. For example, lesser-known upload services such as MediaFire and HotFile are unaffected, even though they serve the same function as RapidShare and Megaupload. Torrent sites such as The Pirate Bay and IsoHunt are also still showing up in instant search and autocomplete.
To suggest that this move alone is some suffocating act of censorship by Google may be a bit strong. It's not like they've been completely erased from the site -- I mean, all you have to do is enter the terms yourself and hit enter, and they'll appear in the results just the same. That said, if Google is indeed giving in to pressure from the MPAA and RIAA, we should all be wary of what the Internet giant may do in the future.
[via The Daily Swarm]